Dresses · Dressmaking Makes · winter · wool

The Afternoon Blouse and Shift Dress

Good Evening!

School is still being quite hectic and I am struggling to get much sewing done in my spare time. I would like to dedicate one full day of sewing this weekend, however I have open day at my school so I doubt that will happen!

During the summer holidays  I stumbled across a post from Simple Sewing Magazine on Facebook. The post was from the pattern company Jennifer Lauren Handmade and that they were looking for pattern testers.  I jumped at the chance and quickly signed myself up. whilst I wasnt succesful to be picked as the first pattern tester, I was picked to test the Afternoon Blouse and Shift Dress, which you can find here. There is no ignoring the fact that Jennifer Lauren Handmade has produced some absolutely gorgeous patterns, I particularly like the look of the Laneway Dress. However, I can’t say I was a huge fan of the Afternoon Blouse and Shift Dress, at first I thought it might look a little dull and plain-looking, which isn’t my style at all. 


Although the pattern sketches are gorgeous, I wasnt a fan of the simplicity of the dress.

The fabric suggestions of the pattern are: lightweight cotton; silks; rayons and  lightweight woven fabrics. I first toyed with the idea of making the dress out of a beautiful liberty tana lawn I have in my stash, however I was little unsure of how I would go about lining it. We are also heading into winter here in the UK, so I thought it would be better to make it out of a woolen type material. In the end I opted for a melton wool type fabric, which I brought on Ebay here

When the fabric arrived I was quite disappointed (not because of the quality) because I thought it would be really unsuitable for the pattern. the fabric is VERY thick and it reminded me of a cape from the Hobbit movie! Scepticism aside, I decided to bite the bullet and go with it!

So here is the finished result!



Fabric used: Black melton wool style fabric
Amount used: roughly 2 metres.

I am really pleased with how the dress turned out! At first I didn’t like the simplicity of the dress, however I think it looks casual in a classic way. The Aline is perfect for my pear-shaped figure and skims nicely across any lumps and bumps. I usually have to grade out with most dress patterns, however this time I decided to cut the 14 across the whole pattern as I wanted a bigger top (so the dress would fit over long-sleeved tops when the weather gets a lot colder).


The pattern calls for one larger (1 inch) button, however I decided to use three smaller floral buttons for the tab at the front. This was a mixture of me being too lazy to the pop to the shop and the added fact that  have been dying to find a make to use these cute buttons!


I love the curved detail at the front of the dress as well as the pleat at the back. It gives a nice shape to what would have been quite a plain dress. The overall fit of the dress is quite good and doesn’t feel too frumpy. The only thing I would change about the fit, would be to grade down a touch at the shoulders. You can see in the picture below that it gapes a tad at the bust. Maybe I should have gone down a whole size at the shoulders and just above the bust?

I also love love love the fact that it comes with pockets, and decent sized ones! I think this pocket pattern piece might just be the pattern I will use for all of my other dresses!

I also chose not to interface the facings as the material was already thick and sturdy.

The pleat at the back gives a lovely fit
the pockets!


I didn’t really have many dislikes about this pattern. It was an easy pattern to sew up (I made the pattern in one day). Although I did have a big problem matching the pattern pieces together and taping them! I couldn’t for the life of me match up the lines properly and I couldnt understand why some of the writing was doubled up when I was taping two of the  peices together. This is also where I have to admit that I have never used a pdf pattern before so it could be my own fault!


As I had a button left over out of my pack, I decided to add it over the box pleat. I feel that I gives it a little something to the back of the garment as the fabric  is very plain.




Over I am pleasantly surprised with this dress. I love the curved neckline and the additions of buttons. I also like how it skims over of pear shaped frame. I am pretty certain that I will get a lot of wear out of his VERY comfy dress this winter!

Katherine x

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